For months, I picked up and set down again Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s gothic novel The Shadow of the Wind, intrigued by its premise, but guilt-ridden at the thought of the ever-growing stack of books on my coffee table, waiting to be read. Finally, I was unable to evade its pull any longer and purchased the book, even though I was in the midst of scholastic hell.
I had to put it aside for a week while I tried to force facts about Lifton’s Brainwashing Model into my head, but was finally able to pick up the thread of this brilliant novel again this weekend. I did nothing today but read, letting myself be pulled into the world of Julián Carax, his love Penélope Aldaya, the boy who becomes entranced by the story of their romance, Daniel Sempre, and their friends and foes.
This is a beautiful novel, filled with passion, intrigue, betrayal and redemption. As a gothic novel, it stands among some of the greatest works of the genre, including Jane Eyre and Rebecca. Zafón’s love of the written word, of books and their power to transcend reality is evident on every page. This is a book for those who love books and who are willing to take a journey with its characters into a story that is often grim, seeped in sadness and futility. An enchanting book that everyone really should take the time to savour — even if it means sacrificing a midterm grade.